Archives For Brent Pittman

Gold Miner

Graduation. Celebration. Endless possibilites. New doors opening, old ones closing. I find myself trying to remember what it was like to have just graduated from high school and have your whole life ahead of you.

There is a lot about life and money that I’ve learned since high school gradation. In that light I will offer up a bit of advice for those 17-19 year olds entering into a new era of their lives.

Wisdom and Experience

In life there are two general ways to learn. Experience and wisdom. Experience is a tough teacher that often times includes bumps, heartaches, and empty wallets.

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”-Vernon Sanders Law (Major League Pitcher)

Wisdom is the ability to learn a truth without having gone through an experience.

Having a good mix of wisdom and experience when it comes to financial matters will give both knowledge and motivation to stay on the right path.

Financial Wisdom for High School Graduates

1. Save- Pay cash for items. Save up or don’t buy it. These are great years to learn how to practice the art of savings. Start with an emergency fund to stay out of debt.

2. Work Hard– A bit of hustle can go a long way. You’ll find that if you work hard you’ll end up ahead of your peers that are smarter than you. Whether it is on a job or in the classroom (hopefully both), learn the value of hard work.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”- Thomas Edison

3. Solve Problems- Find the needs around you and solve them. If you solve others problems you’ll be rich in purpose and/or monetary gain. The marketplace will pay handsomely to those who solve our problems.

4. Create- With most activities in life you can either create or consume. Err to the side of creation and you’ll be a rich person. Why not start a blog to begin creating today?

5. Give– Giving of your time and money will keep humbleness near. Developing an early practice of giving will ensure you have the character needed to handle responsibility and riches.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”-Winston Churchill

6. Avoid Debt- Fight tooth and nail to avoid debt. There is always another path besides debt, yes even college or med school.  The path to avoid debt is harder in the moment, but in the end you’re free and slave to no one.

  • College Debt- Going to college can pay off in the long run, but you can attain a degree without debt. Debt-Free U is a book that can show you how. Having a college degree won’t ensure a job or career that you’ll love.  There are alternatives to college and learning if you’re interested in why I’m not sending my son to college.  
  • Credit Card Debt- The average college graduate has $4,000 of college debt. You can make it through life without debt by learning how to budget.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”-Proverbs 22:7 (ESV)

7. Find your own Path– Recent graduate, you’ll hear a lot of advice–even from me. Most of it is good, but you’ll have to decide for yourself. It is your life to live, not your parents, not your significant other, not society. Heed wisdom, but forge your own way.

8. Explore Your passions- The richest people are doing something they enjoy + meeting needs (#3 above) the needs of others. Find your passions, focus on your strengths and make a difference.

9. Start a Business- You are never too young to start a business. Learning how to sell, market, bookkeeping, etc will help you for the rest of your life. You might even start your dream job without needing to go to college. Did you know you can start a business for $100?

10. Improve your Character– Your character is more important than money. Oddly enough many people of character have wealth. Find ways to improve your character. Start with the Proverbs. There are 30 short chapters, so you could read 1 per day. No matter if you are religious or not, there is wisdom that will improve your character and finances.

11. Did I mention avoiding debt? I hear horror stories of how debt has ruined lives in my coaching practice. Please graduate, learn wisdom, avoid debt, and choose freedom.

What do you wish you would have known about finances when graduating high school? 

Photo Credit  dotpolka

row of cubicles

I’m happily heading back to the land of cubicles. Credit mark sebastian

Today I accepted a verbal offer for a 9-5 position in the land of cubicles.


Yes, I’ll be kissing the freelancing life goodbye, but I won’t be giving up on this blog–in fact I believe my new career will help enhance this site.

What will I be doing? I’ve accepted a position with a large search publishing/advertising company’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) department.

I’ll be building relationships and links (white hat and natural only) to help websites rank higher in Internet searches and thus have more eyeballs reading their articles and buying their products.

What? Why Would You Leave the Freelance Life?

I know it is all the rage to flee the cubes to graze in greener self employment pastures.

Why would I leave the self-employment life?

I love the freedom and flexibility self employment affords and especially the time that I’ve been able to spend with family.

I view this position as a natural next step to what I’ve been doing for the past few years.

How My Freelancing Work Earned Me a 9-5 Cubicle

For the past few years I’ve been on a quest to learn about blogging; both the back-end technical aspects and my visible content and writing ability.

Beyond creating OnTargetCoach, I’ve also taken on a staff writing position and an SEO contract gig

In a sense I’ve been preparing to take such a 9-5 position for years–I just didn’t realize it.

Remember when I quit my job and turned in my 2 weeks notice in 2011?

By leaving a job that was killing my creativity and following my freelancing dreams, it has lead me full circle back to a 9-5 job that I’m really looking forward to.

What I’m Looking Forward to by Returning to a Cube

9-5 gigs aren’t all that bad. He is what I’m looking forward to:

Live people– I’ve a good number of online friends, but I’ve never met any of them. I look forward to working with real people again an not just interacting with screen names. 
Nerds who “get me”– Technically I’ll be in the IT department, so I’m officially a nerd.

In my interview I threw around blogging and tech jargon and these guys didn’t blink an eye.  I didn’t have to apologize for geeking out like I have to a parties when I talk about blogging. They understood.

Paid to Learn, Paid to Help- I’ll be paid to learn the best practices of SEO and help my clients understand the weird world of internet search.

And Now Back to the News

I’ll keep everyone updated on how things progress with my new position. Until then get back to winning with your goals, relationships, and money.

Where are you career wise? Moving towards or away from cube life?

Jr. League Football

NFL draftees have been dreaming about this day since they were young. Credit Amherst Patriots.

An Open Letter to the NFL Class of 2013:

You made it! Years of hard work, sweat, dedication, sacrifice, and determination has put you where you’ve dreamed about being since you were little boy playing backyard football–a member of the NFL.

You are now part of an elite club of super athletes that garners the attention, admiration, and money of the world.

Children and old men alike will up to you for hope, entertainment, and inspiration. You are now a modern day gladiator whose every decision on an off the field will be scrutinized under a microscope.

This is a pressure cooker that requires not only character and skill, but wisdom to handle your new NFL career.

A Bit of Life Wisdom for NFL Class of 2013

If any of the 255 members of NFL class of 2013 read this I’ll be shocked, but if you are reading I believe this advice could help you along the way.

1. You Are a Role Model– Don’t become confused along the way as your once common place name becomes a household name.

Don’t say that you didn’t ask to be role model as an excuse to make poor decisions.

In reality you’ve been a role model for years as you’ve lead your team(s) to championships and victories.

You ARE a role model for young and old alike–especially for those whose city you now wear on the back of your jersey.

2. Be a Real Man- You are one of the fastest and strongest guys in the world. But are you a real man?

A real man respects others: teammates, women, and even opponents. A real man respects himself and avoids addictive behavior.

A real man has faith that is deeply personal and attractive to others.

A real man admits his mistakes and asks for help when he’s headed in the wrong direction.

3. Give More Than You Take- This might be common place for many of you draftees, but for others you’ve been struggling for so long that you’ve lost the art of giving.


Give to the community. Give to your teammates. Give to the world.

Give not only your money, but your time, energy, and emotions to causes bigger than yourself.

4. Marry Well- Find a woman who doesn’t just want you for money or fame. Find a wife who will inspire you to be a better man.

This decision on whom to marry is the second biggest decision of your life. Don’t take it lightly.

Financial Wisdom for NFL Draftees

Not only do you get to play a sport you love, but you are paid–and paid well. It’s a bit like winning the lottery.

This financial incentive comes with its own set of rewards and responsibility–a lesson that 78% of your NFL predecessors have failed at learning.

Below are 8 nuggets of financial wisdom that would make this incoming NFL class the most financially successful class to date.

1. Save Your Signing Bonus- Yes, I said save. Don’t touch it. If you need to take a small amount to live off of until you receive your first check, then do that–but save the rest.

This signing bonus isn’t mad money to blow. It is your beginning retirement fund.

2. Retirement is one Tackle Away- The average NFL career last between 3-6 years depending on whose stats you use. This ride won’t last forever, so financially plan on this.

Make a plan early in your career on what you’ll do after the NFL and how you’ll fund that dream.

3. Make a Budget- This might seem silly since you’re making more money than you ever dreamed, but a budget will help you reach your goals–you’ll just have more 0’s on the end of your numbers than the average joe.

4. Learn How Money Works– Chances are you’re like most Americans haven’t a clue how money works. Take a class on finances like FPU, read books about finances, and learn for yourself.

5. Find a Financial Mentor– You need someone to give it to you straight. Someone who won’t stand to profit from your financial investments. I’d use someone like Chis Hogan if I had the chance.

6. Handle Your Business– Know what is happening with your money. Don’t trust some family member selling insurance for advice, nor trust your brother in law to handle your assets.

Have a monthly profit and loss statement that is reviewed by yourself, along with your tax professional and other trusted financial advisors.

7. Run Away From Schemers and Fast Money– You are now on the hit list for scammers, financial quacks, and people with ideas on how to make fast money.

Chances are if someone approaches you with an investment idea–they are scam artists or mislead at best. Seek out your own financial advisors and shut those out who seek you first.

8. Avoid Debt- This is true for all of us, but you now have the ability to qualify for Jumbo Home Loans which could lead to serious problems if your career ends. Flee from debt and investments that enslave you to debt.

Final Thoughts to the NFL Class of 2013

I hope at least 1 of the 255 draftees find this, or maybe one of their relatives. These pearls of wisdom will help ensure that your years of hard work won’t end up in bankruptcy and heartache.

If you’re not one of the 255 ESPN NFL Draft picks, what advice do you have for future NFL players? 

Feet at the ocean

Can you live stress free?

Stress is a part of our everyday lives. Stress causes us to react out of fear to preserve our lives. We don’t have sabertooth tigers chasing us anymore, but the stress mechanism remains.

Long term stress can cause serious health problems: heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, depression, obesity, memory impairment, and I’m sure others that haven’t been discovered yet.

If you’re like me, money has be one the top stressors in my life. I’ve learned to reduce financial stress and hope I can help reduce yours too.

Causes of Financial Stress

1) Lack of Income- Not having enough income is frustrating. Being laid off or not able to find a job that pays the bills is frustrating. I’ve been there.

Finding a part-time job while you are searching for full time employment might be a short term solution. Ultimately you’ll need to find something you love doing that pays the bills. These books have helped me with career questions and finding work I love: No More Dreaded Mondays and The $100 Startup.

2) Debt– Debt weighs you down and causes stress, especially when bills keep coming in. Bill collectors only add to your stress level.

Find a plan to deal with your debt will reduce your stress. I’ve seen it happen with friends and clients.

3) Wind in the air budgeting- Determining the wind direction with a wet finger isn’t an accurate method, yet many budget their money with this method. Ditch the best guess method and learn how to budget like a pro.

4) “It’s all up to me.” mentality- Believing that your financial future is all up to you can cause stress. Don’t get me wrong I am a strong advocate of personal responsibility and hard work–I do however recognize there is a spiritual aspect to money and life.

I’ve found that trusting God with my finances and the future has relieved much stress in my life. This is a daily practice and a perspective I have to remind myself of when I feel stress creeping in.

Dealing With Stress

The effects of stress are not enjoyable and our relationships will suffer. Coping with stress and stress management are short term solutions At some point you’ll need to deal with the root causes of stress.

If you need financial help, consult an counselor and/or clergy member to discuss the root causes and find solutions. If I can help, contact me directly with your questions.

Let’s reduce our financial stress and move towards financial peace.

Dealing With Stress

Photo Credit programwitch

Does money stress you out? How do you deal with these financial pressures? 

Photo Credit HRC

Keep a Secret

Shh… American Airlines has a secret program for expired miles. Credit Daniela Vladimirova

Do American Airlines miles expire? Yes, If you have no qualifying activity in an 18 month period those miles are toast.

BUT I can show you how to restore those “lost” miles on the cheap with a secret program.

My wife and I racked a good number of AA miles flying from California to visit family and also flying around the world when we were single.

Due to Southwest’s Bags Fly Free program and generally cheaper prices we’ve stopped flying American Airlines and our accounts became inactive.

Thanks to my wife’s persistence we learned about one of their secrets. (Side tip: Marry a frugal spouse!)

They have a secret program code named the American Airlines Re-engagement Challenge that can’t be found on their website.

American Airlines Re-engagement Challenge

You’ll have to actually call their hot-line and talk to a real live person. (1-800-882-8880)

Explain the situation of your lost miles and ask if there is any way to revive those miles. If they aren’t helpful ask about their Reengagement Challenge.

They might be shocked that you are such a knowledgeable insider–just don’t tell them where you heard about it or they might come after me and my AA miles. 🙂

ReEngagement Challenge Details: How Does it Work?

Simple really. I’ll share the bullet points. If you want to see the details click Reengage AA Miles.

  • Agree to sign up for two email lists for the length of your re-engagement challenge without unsubscribing.
  • Pay $30 over the phone.
  • Fly on 1 round trip flight on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, or Japan Airlines within 6 months OR
  • Earn 5,000-7,000 base partner miles to revive up to 50,000-75,000 expired miles. (This seems tricky since many programs for earning are exempted from the Re-Engagement Challenge)
  • To restore 75,000+ miles you’ll need to fly on 2 round trip flights in 6 months or earn 10,000 base partner miles.

If you have enough miles to redeem American Airlines miles for a free ticket (12.5 one way for EconomyMileSAAver program, 25K miles for round trip), AND have a plan for earning the miles–Only then you should consider coughing up the $30 for the Re-Engagement Challenge. 

We both have near the 25K needed for a free flight and an upcoming AA flight will push us over the ledge, so we choose to pay $60 total to reactivate both accounts.

On a side note we learned one way to keep your AA miles active is to donate 1,000 miles to one of their active nonprofit listed on their site every year.

Have your American Airlines miles expired? Will you start the Re-Engagement Challenge to revive those expired miles?